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fun, fun, fun!
This was the most fun reading a book that I have had in awhile. Delightful, quirky characters and silly animals...I loved them all. I laughed and giggled through the whole thing
What A Hoot!!
The engrossing story of a Beefeater, otherwise known as Yeoman Warder Balthazar Jones. He lives in the Tower of London with his wife, Hebe, but they are grieving over Milo, the son they lost and their own marriage which is falling apart. The other occupants of the Tower include: a prize-winning Priest who secretly writes pornography under an alias, another Beefeater ‘Ravenmaster’ who is cheating on his wife, and Mrs. Cook, a 181 year old tortoise. There are other animals living at the Tower and they often present with challenges for the Beefeaters like when a special Etruscan shrew dies, and they tell people it’s hibernating!
Balthazar Jones is a complicated man obsessed with weather and actively collects rain. It’s an odd hobby for sure, but its part of how he deals with the loss of his son. It is the very unique details that make the characters of this story so special.
Julia Stuart has written a fun book that is both serious at times yet laugh-out-loud funny at others. Anyone who picks up this book is in for the long haul!!
There's something for everybody here--family relationships, English history, animals, romance, humor, and tears. The title leaves out one aspect that I found very special--the London Underground lost and found department. There are well-developed and endearing characters (some not so endearing, of course) and a clever writing style.
Dolena W. (Dallas, TX)
A Laugh, A Little Sadness and Lots of Warmth
I love this book! I loved it from the first page until the last page. I cannot wait until it is published so that I can give it to my friends.
JD ( NY)
A Charming Book
This book is chock full of humor, but the laughs are not its purpose and they do not distract from the lovely stories behind the laughter. And, who could resist the antics of the animals who move in and out of the story lines.
But the real story is the humans. Human characters who are all eccentric, flawed, but fascinating. With one or two exceptions, all of the characters seem familiar. Not because they are stereotypical, because they are anything but. They are familiar because they so resemble the people we all know who live quiet lives, waiting for joy to come or return to their lives.
The ending of this book was extraordinary. It was sweet, free of theatrics, just a gentle pull toward resolution of all the stories, all the characters' lives.
I will read this again for certain. Long live Mrs. Cook (you have to read the book)!.
The Tower of London is the setting and those who live and work there are the subject of this beautiful and affecting novel. The details and history given about the Tower are fascinating enough, but what makes this book wonderful is that while it is filled with sadness, it is also extremely funny at the same time. The characters are quirky, but you feel connected with them on an emotional level. I didn't want this book to end.
Elena S. (The Book Works, CA)
Fire Up the Tea Kettle and Settle In With a Good Book
"The Tower, the Zoo, and the Tortoise" is an absolute delight! Every one of Stuart’s characters is endearing, brought to life with humorous quirks, and a sense of quiet tenderness that warms the heart in even the rainiest of times. This book is a good pick for animal lovers, English history buffs or anyone who has ever known "the silent ecstasy of wearing new socks."
Tom B. (Ferndale, Michigan)
For whatever reason - perhaps the whimsical cover - I was expecting this book to suffer from quirk overload. However, I was so pleasantly surprised by what I found instead. A really moving, engaging, and original narrative that - through some extraordinary circumstances - reveals a lot about the human capacity to love and to mourn. Definitely recommend.
Mark O. (Wenatchee, WA)
Lost and Found
All readers know that reading takes us places we’d never likely visit. "The Tower, the Zoo, and the Tortoise" takes us inside the Tower of London, a place so saturated with history that ghosts ooze out everywhere. The arrival of a menagerie of animals (gifts to Queen Elizabeth, from all over the world) falls to the responsibility of one of the Tower guards, a Beefeater. These exotic animals are lost, uprooted from homes in jungles and plains, and now housed in moats and towers. In fact, this book is a story of losses. Some of these losses are terrible (a child), sad (a marriage), life-changing (a calling) or bizarre (the things left behind on the London Underground). But the opposite of lost is found and the London Underground's Lost Property Office seems a mirror of life. Things thought irretrievably lost can be found again: happiness, purpose, and life-long mates, whether one is human or albatross.